Thursday, July 28, 2011

What do Lesbians want from their bras?

In Vancouver, August is always ushered in with a glittering rainbow parade through the city and along the beach. PRIDE is one of the highlights in our city; a celebration of love and freedom of expression.

BUSKFILMS is a website for lesbian independent films
As I was chatting with one of my favourite busty lesbian entrepreneurs, Andrea Wing from Busk Films, she pointed out to me that gay women can have a very different relationship with their underwear compared to their straight friends. She said that mainstream lingerie is designed to be pleasing to men and lesbians don’t identify with that definition of attractive. This really got me thinking about the way I identify with the bras I wear and include in our Collection.

When I started Butterfly Collection I was adamant that I wasn’t going down the ‘sex sells’ route because there are so many women in Canada who don’t identify with the winged sex goddesses of Victoria's Secret. A lot of us want to feel beautiful, or funky or indeed just downright comfortable! I have nothing against sex appeal and lots of our bras have tonnes of vava-voom but the premise of our message is; "You should have the bras that make YOU feel great about your body and great bras start with great fit." This is the one thing I know for sure, whether you’re gay or straight your bras have to fit and that rule is universal.

A lot of gender neutral bras are sports bras and that's not enough choice
After doing some more research and asking some more questions I came to realize that it’s the gender streaming that causes a big problem for lots of lesbians. The lingerie industry has a penchant for bows and lace and anything frilly, but if you don’t identify with any of these things what options are left open to you? If you’re a busty lesbian who doesn't identify with these styles and fabrics your job is twice as hard.

I asked a couple of gay girlfriends to tell me which of our bras qualified as Gender Neutral and realized that the ones they chose were sports bras or molded cups and that's not enough choice.

Julie Goldman from the Big Gay Sketch Show
This gave me a huge insight to how hard it is to find something that speaks to you when the industry is so hetro-centric. I can’t begin to understand the frustrations but this quote from Julie Goldman (from the Big Gay Sketch Show) in Autostraddle's Bra issue really opened my eyes “we just need a designer to understand that for the masculeeene lady, our femininity is IN our masculinity and someday I hope there is a bra that supports that.” Just as beauty doesn’t come in one package, the definition of feminine doesn’t come in one design either.

The way in which we find ourselves beautiful is very important for self-esteem and lingerie is a great way to see yourself as beautiful. When very few bras are designed with you in mind it’s hard to form a fond attachment to your lingerie. Of course gay women do not come in a ‘one size fits all’ so neither do their lingerie wants.

This brief glimpse of the lingerie world through the eyes of a gay woman has brought about a whole new perspective for me. I know that I have bras for supreme comfort, bras for feeling pretty, bras for feeling sexy and bras for everyday life. I identify different parts of my personality and life with different bras. I’ve realized I’m very fortunate. Lots of women are lucky to find one bra that remotely resonates with them. I would love to hear more about the struggles and successes that busty lesbians have when buying lingerie. I hope to bring some more choice to your lives in the future! xx


Friday, July 22, 2011

The Importance of Taking a Break

I have left Butterfly Collection in the very capable hands of Christine, Lucy and the team while Paul and I are away enjoying a couple of weeks in the UK. I absolutely love my job because running a bra company for busty women has been my dream for a long time, but I had forgotten how important a real vacation is.

Our lovely boat Rapallo in Portavadie Marina
We're boating around the Western Isles of Scotland and the total tranquility is already recharging my batteries and getting my creative juices flowing again. We're on Loch Fyne near the Mull of Kintyre surrounded by whiskey distilleries, eagles, heather and shortbread - fantastic! Mr Butterfly and I have enjoyed several rum and cokes and all my favourite British snacks (KP dry roasted nuts being a big one!)

The weather has been so unpredictable in Canada this year that it's been hard to recharge your batteries, but if you get the chance to take even a weekend away from your regular life then I highly recommend it.

Butterfly Collection has had a great week in our absence (perhaps we should go away more often!) Before I left I was interviewed by Shiral Tobin (@shiral on Twitter) from CBC Radio One in B.C. for her segment Pinched. The interview aired on Tuesday and literally hundreds of people got in touch with us and checked out the website for the first time which was phenomenal. Shiral was such a good sport and didn't mind me telling her that her boobs were asleep! She left the interview in a brand new, properly fitting bra which made me very happy. You can listen to the CBC interview here. I hope you all have fantastic weekends lined up. xx

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How Life Can Change Your Bra Size

Lots of women don’t regularly check their bra size because they don't feel that their boobs have changed. One woman told me that she’s been a 38E since she was 16; at 39, two children and a divorce later she was surprised when I told her she was now a 36G. If you’re honest, how often do you check your bra size? 

You may feel that your body hasn’t changed much but you’d be surprised at the number of things in life that can affect your bra size. Your body can change shape without you even realizing it and this is often the result of changes in your life. We’re aware of the changes that occur with dieting or having a baby but there are other things that can affect your size:

1) Emotional Strain and Grief
No one’s life is without sadness at some point and this deep emotional state can have very real physical effects on your body. I have spoken to women after coming through a mourning period, or significant emotional change like divorce, who find that their bodies have changed. 

It’s unrealistic to think that you can be vigilant about your bra size when you’re processing emotional trauma, however, when you begin to emerge from the sadness, it’s important to give your body the support it needs. Weight loss or weight gain through this time may include some muscle change so your boobs can be very different. It will make it easier to resume regular life if your body is supported and comfortable. It’s worth speaking to a bra expert about appropriate styles if your body shape has changed.

The Enell Lite is perfect for recovery
2) Surgery and Illness
You don’t need to have experienced a breast related illness or surgical procedure for it to have an effect on your boobs. Medications and surgery can have a very direct effect on your bra size; some medications cause water retention which can result in a bigger bust size. 

The most important thing to remember during these times is that your body needs support to recuperate. It may be the case that going without a bra for a while is a good idea and when you’re back on your feet you may want a softer bra like the Enell Lite pictured above while your body is still tender. There are post surgical bras available for you to wear after breast surgery. These can be worn day and night and give you gentle support while you heal. 
3) Menopause
As you stop producing as much oestrogen, progesterone and prolactin the glandular tissue in your boobs stops swelling and reducing through each menstrual cycle. 

Most women find that their boobs become less dense during menopause and this reduces their overall bust size. However, for about 20% of women the menopause results in an increased bust size as the fatty tissue inside your breasts increases. Either way, you’ll want to keep an eye on your measurements (our bra size calculator is an easy way to follow your size changes) and buy bras accordingly. The menopause can also make your boobs very tender or even sore. If this happens it can help to wear seam-free bras that reduce irritation but keep you supported.

Your body needs different support depending on the time and events in your life. Finding the right style and size of bra will help you to feel more comfortable physically and emotionally. If you have any questions about the kind of bra you need during different stages of your life you can email our support team at  xx

Friday, July 15, 2011

Flying Essentials

In a few hours Mr Butterfly and I will be flying off to the UK for a couple of weeks. My Grandmother is turning 80 so we're all converging on England for a big family knees up! I have flown a lot in my life but I can't say it's my favourite thing so I have to make sure I have my in-flight essentials to make the 9 hour journey more bearable.

Like everyone I get super dehydrated on the plane and the little tray of water doesn't come around often enough. I buy a big bottle of water when I get through passport control and then filter it through my fabulous Santevia Energy Flask. The flask lowers the PH level of the water which counteracts the acidic side affects that flying can have on your stomach.

Besides keeping up with the water intake I have to keep my skin hydrated too. I have super dry skin that breaks out in hives at the mere mention of a scented lotion. I swear by Moisture Surge from Clinque. The travel size keeps my skin quenched without causing my skin to breakout.

I ALWAYS get hungry on a plane. I think it's because I'm not a big fan of flying and when I'm nervous, I eat. I take a little tupperware container of chocolate covered pretzels to eat on the plane. It's enough to stave off any hunger pangs between the cellophaned meals.
I find it hard to read on the plane but I love crosswords and puzzles. My ultimate must have for this flight is Scrabble on the iPad. Despite the fact that when playing against the computer it uses words that have never been near a dictionary, I still enjoy trying to beat the cheating little sod!

My go-to bra for flying is the Harmonie from Conturelle. It's my most comfortable, lightest bra and it will keep the girls happy until we get to England. I will be checking out some new lingerie lines in the UK and chatting with two European labels that are doing some super interesting things in big cups!
It's business as usual for Butterfly Collection with our lovely support team taking care of boobs and bras while we're away. On Tuesday July 19th you'll be able to tune into CBC Radio 1 in Vancouver at 8:20 for Sharil Tobin's segment about buying bras in Canada. I had a fantastic time with Sharil yesterday and will always remember trying to measure someone whilst doing a radio interview at the same time! You can listen to CBC by choosing one of their stations here.

I hope you all have amazing weekends lined up and that the sun makes an appearance! Next week's Curvy Life is straight from England so expect lots of talk about weird English foods! xx

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yoga for Busty Women

Following on from our last Boobs and Fitness video Boobs and Aquafit we’re looking at Yoga and how it can work for busty ladies.
The reason we’re doing this series is to change the idea that exercise isn’t for busty women. I know from personal experience how traumatic working out can be with big boobs. Sports bras for busty women weren’t as readily available or attractive as they are today so my late teen years were spent avoiding sport (especially mixed sports) because I spent the entire time trying not to move from the waist up.

In this week's Fitness and Boobs video I chat to Elizabeth Srinivasan about the benefits of yoga for big busted women and what to expect from a yoga class for beginners or those getting back into yoga.

Elizabeth is a Hatha yoga goddess who teaches at  Moksha Yoga here in Vancouver. Moksha studios operate an inclusive principle for all ages, body types, levels of experience and flexibility.

We are very fortunate that Elizabeth has put together a 15 minute yoga workout designed for busty women. All the exercises are designed with curvy women in mind and will help to strengthen your core and upper body, important things for busty ladies. You can do this routine at home and find out whether yoga is right for you. xx

Friday, July 8, 2011

How to keep your breasts cool in hot weather

I love the warm weather, especially having any excuse to wear sleeveless dresses with ruffles and bows! I have learned though that the heat can play havoc with my boobs unless I have them well prepared. It's no good looking fantastic in your summer outfit and having hot, uncomfortable, clammy boobs. The first thing to do is protect your delicate breast skin from the sun. I love the Morning Glow moisturizer from Clean and Clear because it has an SPF15 and a light shimmer. A light moisturizer will actually help your boobs breath and expel heat so you don't get sweaty.

The SPF is really important and will protect against prematurely wrinkly skin caused by over exposure to the sun. The Clean and Clear range also keeps any pesky pimples away so your decolletage remains spotless!
Wearing anything cotton will help to keep your body cool because the fabric is breathable and actually pulls moisture away from the skin allowing it to evaporate naturally before you get sweaty - clever! A bra with a high cotton content is a good idea for anyone who overheats easily or gets skin irritations. A high cotton content bra will keep your girls cool in the hottest weather.

Trapped moisture anywhere near your boobs is a bad idea so a trusty deodorant is essential. I have very sensitive skin so there are only a few brands that I can use. One Canadian brand that I LOVE is Rocky Mountain Soap Company. They have a geranium deodorant that is effective but gentle. Their range is a little more expensive but so worth it.
My last tip is for the long-haired ladies out there. As the temperature rises your body gets oilier to compensate for the rapid drying of your skin. Oily hair resting against your cleavage can cause irritations and pimples so besides keeping your hair away from your chest it's a good idea to keep your hair oil free. I love the dry shampoo from Klorane. It's the perfect way to keep your hair oil free without having to wash it every day (which can actually make it more oily as your skin overcompensates for the drying effect of shampoo). A great touch-up for your hair after the beach or the gym and a great help on in-between washes days.

I hope these cool boob tips help you feel at your booby best this summer xx

Friday, July 1, 2011

Curvy Life: Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day everyone! The huge celebrations in Ottawa are bathed in sunshine and of course have royalty in attendance. I LOVE that Kate wore a maple leaf hat - not too many women can pull off a 'theme' hat with such style. To celebrate Canada Day we're giving everyone 10% off everything at Butterfly Collection this weekend. Just use code CANADA11 at checkout.

Here in Vancouver things are a little less sunny but that's not going to deter us heading down to the beach with some friends later today for a BBQ and drinks. My lovely friend Catherine sent us a chocolate survival package that has been getting us through the cold weather. I want to kiss the person who invented Galaxy chocolate!
I came across an interesting little article this morning whilst drinking my tea. Using high resolution cameras art historians have uncovered that Botticelli's famous painting The Birth of Venus may have had a curvy touch up. The images show that originally Venus may have been a little more svelte but in keeping with the voluptuous aesthetics of the day it looks like Botticelli gave her a little more curve.

I have another fab blog to recommend this week. Thin and Curvy is a fantastic personal blog following the physical, emotional and shopping journeys of a thin girl with naturally big boobs. I love her post from today showing off an unexpected curvy friendly buy - the best kinds!

Whatever you're up to this weekend I'm wishing you a very happy long weekend! xx